MicroStrategy officially launched MicroStrategy Mobile in New York yesterday.
It might seem odd that it’s a major launch, given that the vendor has had a mobile solution for three years now. What’s different about this, though, is that they are the first major BI platform vendor to market with native support for both iPhone and iPads and broad, interactive BI content. (To be precise, Oracle released an iPhone app last year, but with limited content- more is due in 11g shortly; SAP shipped an iPhone app for SAP BusinessObjects Explorer last month; QlikView supports iPhone and iPad; Actuate BIRT supports both).
When MicroStrategy first briefed me on their product, they shared some customer survey data about how the iPhone and iPad were becoming more important to corporate customers than the BlackBerry. I didn’t believe them, in part because mobile BI has historically gotten such a low rating in my Cool BI classes but also because of market share reports that still show RIM leading by a wide margin. However, that was before the iPad was released, bringing greater screen realestate and defining a new market segment. Indeed, the talk and interest at this event was iPhone/iPad oriented. One long-time customer who has been using MicroStrategy on BlackBerry for years expects that device to be phased out as employees upgrade their smartphones. He noted that particularly in Asia, the iPhone was preferred (clearly AT&T’s exclusive contract in the U.S. affects such market penetration here).
VHA and Novation is an early adopter of the new MicroStrategy Mobile for iPhone with its PriceLynx app. The web version of the app has allowed hospitals to save millions of dollars by better understanding supply prices and costs. Extending the app to the iPhone only took a few days, said Guillermo Ramas, VP of Product Development at Novation, mainly to optimize the rendering on a smaller screen. The same BI content in MicroStrategy Web is rendered and interactive on the iPhone. Ramas said deploying on mobile will now be a standard part of their product development process.
As an indication of MicroStrategy’s belief that the iPad and mobile BI is revolutionary, the company is equipping its sales force with iPads, replacing Windows-based notebooks. To encourage existing and new customers to try MicroStrategy Mobile, the company is offering a free 25-user version.
The greater utility of smartphones, along with more robust mobile BI apps, means mobile BI will have as profound an impact on the BI market as the Internet initially had on business intelligence.
Cindi Howson, BI Scorecard